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OPINIONS

Upcoming Trend: GPS-Enabled Cell Phones
By: Barzan "Tony" Antal
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    2008-06-17

    Table of Contents:
  • Upcoming Trend: GPS-Enabled Cell Phones
  • Earlier Attempts
  • Future Projects
  • Final Thoughts

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    Upcoming Trend: GPS-Enabled Cell Phones


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    We all know that living in the 21st century means incorporating more devices that seemingly get smaller and smaller and accomplishing endless tasks to the point of queasiness. I call this the heaven of electronics. In the past few years, GPS devices have earned a lot of recognition and become a booming industry. Most, if not all of them, target drivers, but what about pedestrians? This is the upcoming trend, and that’s what this article is all about.

    Before we begin, I would like to suggest checking out the following article: “Global Positioning Systems Demystified.” If you aren’t familiar with Global Positioning Systems (GPS), or you want more information on how they work, then that article is just for you. It’s an absolute must because it demystifies the concept of GPS and, thus, prepares you for this article.

    (Pharos GPS Phone - Photo Courtesy of “IntoMobile”)

    Throughout this article, we’re going to cover GPS-enabled cell phones. By this, we mean all kinds of handheld mobile phones that incorporate enhanced GPS features. A few years ago, when manufacturers began releasing GPS-enabled cell phones, the devices were both expensive and relatively inaccurate. The latest solutions feature the so-called enhanced GPS, described below.

    Each mobile phone, even the older ones without GPS receivers, is able to predict your location. They can do this using geographical localizations based on the time required for the signal to travel back and forth between cell towers, the strength of the signals that arrive at the destination, as well as the angle of approach to these towers.

    In the USA, the famous “9-1-1” service has a derivative called “Enhanced 9-1-1” (E9-1-1). This is part of the national emergency system; it requires wireless network carriers to provide the necessary information, such as location and phone number, on each emergency call. This feature is called caller location. For more, read this. The EU demanded a similar facility too.

    It is possible to predict the location of each cellular phone anywhere in the world as long as it has a signal (network coverage) and is turned on. Imagine combining the results from both old-fashioned GPS triangulation and network-based caller location; that’s what enhanced GPS is all about. We all know that GPS devices can make mistakes, and under specific conditions, they cannot work (inside buildings), whereas mobile phones can. Thus, better overall efficiency is also achieved.

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